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MASTER PLAN

by Simon Lord,
last updated 26/06/2018

Want a bigger opportunity? Taking up a regional or national master franchise could offer the challenges and rewards you seek, suggests Simon Lord

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Some people think of ‘buying a franchise’ as being about buying a café or a cleaning business and working in it yourself – and for many people, that’s exactly what they do. If they want to expand beyond that, they buy a second or third outlet, or employ staff to handle more business.

But there is another way to expand through franchising, and that’s to acquire a master franchise. A master franchisee takes on some of the responsibilities for developing the franchise in a particular region, or even on a national basis. They recruit, train and support individual franchisees and, in some cases, may also set up their own operations. In return, they generally receive a proportion of each new franchisee’s initial and ongoing fees – these arrangements vary from business to business.

Some master franchisees at national level may not sub-franchise at all, retaining ownership of all their own outlets, like Starbucks and Wendy’s, for example. Some, like The Coffee Club, have no company-owned outlets, focusing totally on supporting franchises. And others may operate a mix of company-owned and franchised outlets, like Pizza Hut.

Look through this website or our magazine and you’ll find a number of master franchises available. These include national opportunities such as Hudsons Coffee, Hog’s Breath Café and Gloria Jean’s, and regional masters like Epiphany Café, Portermark, Jim’s and V.I.P. Home Services. Some are more suited to large companies with access to finance and an established infrastructure, while others may be taken on by individuals or couples looking to start small and grow big.

Your own region

Gary Turton is a regional master franchisee for Jim’s Mowing. His region covers Auckland’s North Shore, where he is responsible for 25 sub-franchisees, as well as having customers of his own. He bought the master franchise after having run his own successful IT business.

‘I saw that a strong, established brand like Jim’s provided the ability to leverage my skills to earn more and build a business more quickly than doing it myself,’ Gary says. ‘I had a long-term vision to create an ongoing income stream while doing minimal work – well, I was wrong about the minimal work part!’ he laughs. ‘My roles include business marketing and sales; sub-franchisee selection; business and marketing trainer; technical trainer; brand guardian; coach; co-ordinator; adjudicator; motivator; counsellor; information hub; supplier deal maker and liaison. I’m also a forecaster – both of weather and potential personal or team issues – a backup mowing contractor and a lender of gear.’

As Gary’s list suggests, one of the prime requirements that master franchisees need at a regional level is people skills. ‘Learning to mow lawns and run a business is one thing, but learning to ...

This article appears in full in the most recent issue of Franchise New Zealand (Year 27, Issue 2) and can be read in our digital issue of the magazine, or ask for your own free print copy.

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